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Papa John’s franchisee closes 12 pizza locations

Papa John’s locations in Coeur d’Alene, Spokane and other Eastern Washington communities closed Monday night.

Tish Muldoon, spokesman for Papa John’s International Inc., said franchisee North Country Pizza shut down 12 stores. They will remain closed until the company can find another operator, she said.

“The franchisee has been unresponsive to us,” Muldoon said. “We are unable to reach him.”

Information filed with the Washington Department of Licensing lists Kevin Maines and Michael Bishop as the “governing people” of North Country Pizza, which has a Colbert mailing address. A telephone message left at that address was not returned.

Larry Kelley, a driver and former manager of the Papa John’s at 920 W. Indiana, said a district manager sent out a text message Tuesday morning notifying employees of the closures.

“We were struggling,” Kelley said, but there was no indication a shutdown was imminent.

“We did not expect that this would happen,” he said, “Nothing was said last night.”

He said 14 were employed at the Indiana store.

Kelley said employees were supposed to get their bi-weekly paychecks Saturday. He was due about $500, Kelley said.

Muldoon said Papa John’s “understands” employees will receive checks as well as W-2 tax forms.

Kelley said a sign posted on the Indiana store also said the checks and forms would be mailed by the end of the month.

He said he will file for unemployment and look for another job.

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